It took Arsenal a while, 40 minutes in fact, to get into their stride against Dundalk in tonightâs Europa League match. However once the dam broke, the game was as good as over.
The League of Ireland side started the game brightly, and made forays into the Arsenal half without ever really threatening Alex Runarsson. The home side, by contrast, where remarkably sluggish and lacked intensity.
Everything was fairly comfortable for Dundalk, who defended resolutely. On the 40th minute, everything changed. Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers came for an Arsenal corner, missed the flight of the ball, which landed at the feet of Eddie Nketiah, who made no mistake.
Once the first went in, Dundalkâs shape crumbled, and The Gunners added a second within a minute of the first. Pepeâs deflected shot fell into the path of Joe Willock, by far Arsenalâs best player, who fired his shot high into the roof of the net. It was harsh on Dundalk going into half time.
Pepe added a third with their first attack of the second half, with the Ivorian rolling the ball with his left foot before hitting it with his right, sending the ball into the top corner of Rogersâ goal.
The Irish side continued to defend doggedly, but the gulf in class was evident, with Arsenal simply quicker in thought and execution. Arsenal couldâve added more to the score line, but were wasteful.
Runarsson: 6 â had little to do.
Soares: 6 â Made several forays forward and added width, but wasnât tested defensively.
Mustafi: 6 â An easy night at the back, had little to do.
Kolasinac: 6 â Nearly scored with a header, little work to do in defence.
Maitland-Niles: 6 â Got forward often but not tested defensively.
Willock: 8 â Best player on the pitch, was dynamic and caused Dundalk all sorts of problems
Elneny: 6.5 â Solid, all round performance.
Xhaka: 6 â Solid without excelling.
Nelson: 6.5 â Brilliant at times, frustrating at other, a raw talent.
Nketiah: 6 â Wasteful at times, couldâve added more goals.
Pepe: 6.5 â Much improved performance in the second half, goal was exceptional.
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